The City of Hood River has gone over its overtime budget for public works during the ice and snow storms of the last few weeks, but City officials says they have the money to cover it. City Manager Steve Wheeler says their resources have been taxed dealing with the snow and ice around the area, often running crews in 12-hour shifts, and that leads to overtime costs. He said they started the year with a $13,000 overtime budget and they have gone over that, but they do have a $300,000 contingency fund to draw from, so the City is still in good shape. Wheeler said when it comes to equipment, they try to do double duty through using snow plows attached to dump trucks to deal with this kind of storm. He also praised public works crews for their work in dealing with the wintry conditions of the past few weeks.
With a new year, there are new tasks for the Klickitat County Commission. Commissioner Rex Johnston says one of his goals is to find a way to develop more housing on the west end of the County. As part of that, he says the Commission wants to make sure public works and building and planning departments are communicating to streamline the permitting process, adding they have a number of people who have property that are looking to subdivide but can find it difficult. Johnston notes the County’s on-going work to revise its strategic plan will be a part of that streamlining effort.
LaGrande 65, The Dalles 44
Pendleton 69, Hood River Valley 40
Horizon Christian 57, Mitchell-Spray 15
Horizon Christian 75, Ione 48
South Wasco 50, Mitchell-Spray 16
South Wasco 55, Ione 31
Dufur 80, Condon-Wheeler 50
Dufur 64, Arlington 50
Sherman 84, Arlington 49
Sherman 65, Condon-Wheeler 46
Bickleton 57, Trout Lake 44
Sunnyside Christian 73, Lyle-Wishram 23
Klickitat 45, Lyle-Wishram 43
LaSalle 47, Goldendale 37
Zillah 81, Goldendale 34
Pendleton 51, Hood River Valley 48
The Dalles 45, LaGrande 38
Horizon Christian 70, Mitchell-Spray 17
Horizon Christian 72, Ione 20
South Wasco 43, Ione 28
South Wasco 50, Mitchell-Spray 17
Condon-Wheeler 41, Dufur 40
Arlington 50, Dufur 30
Arlington 55, Sherman 23
Condon-Wheeler 42, Sherman 32
LaSalle 65, Goldendale 32
Zillah 63, Goldendale 16
Sunnyside Christian 77, Lyle-Wishram 14
Yakama Tribal 66, Klickitat 30
Trout Lake 36, Bickleton 26
Yakama Tribal 59, Trout Lake 10
Google representatives announced at Thursday’s North Wasco County School District 21 board meeting that it will be providing electronic devices for learning to each of the 578 students enrolled at The Dalles Middle School. Google’s donation, worth about $140,000, will provide one-to-one technology for each of the students enrolled at the school, and offer greater access to the internet, digital course materials, digital textbooks and state testing. All enrolled students at the school will be assigned devices for in-school use. D-21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong says the middle school was picked as the starting point in part because its building is ready for this equipment. The district hopes to reach one-to-one technology status for all students in grades six through 12 in the coming years. Students at the The Dalles Middle School will be using their new devices before the end of the current school year.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has reopened Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale. The freeway had been closed since mid-afternoon on Tuesday from an ice storm that arrived following heavy snows in the area. The storms brought down trees and power lines and left behind huge snowdrifts. ODOT crews worked around the clock and were able to re-open the road about 11 p.m. Thursday. The road is safe but travelers should still use caution. The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed. Washington Highway 14 opened yesterday between the Hood River Interstate Bridge and Washougal.
The North Wasco County School District 21 board approved adjustments to the school calendar to help provide more time in a second trimester that has been disrupted by inclement weather. The board approved changing February 6 from an in-service day to a student contact day, pushing back the end of the trimester to March 17, and pushing back a teacher work day to March 20. D-21 has had eight full day cancellations and seven delayed starts this winter. Superintendent Candy Armstrong says they are still within minimum state requirements for classroom time at the middle and high school, but slightly under that mark at the elementary level. In other business, the board received a report from District maintenance director Don Carter that the snow loads on D-21 buildings are well within tolerance levels. Armstrong noted they are dealing with leaky roofs, but there are no structural issues.
The Hood River County School District is up to eight full day cancellations and six delays for this school year. The district had already added make-up days on January 27 and June 14, and Superintendent Dan Goldman says they are working with the teachers’ union to find ways within the current school calendar to make up more time, but adds in all likelihood more days will get tacked on to the end of the school year, and the decisions will involve doing more than just meeting state minimum requirements. Goldman did say Hood River Valley High School has moved the end of the current semester back one week due to the recent disruptions.
The Dalles Public Works Department will be working Thursday and Friday nights to remove snow from the downtown areas. To facilitate clearing the roads from curb to curb, Public Works requests no on-street parking downtown from 1st Street to 4th Street, between Taylor Street and Lincoln Street, including side streets, from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Thursday and Friday. Crews will begin at 6:00 p.m. on January 19 to remove snow from 2nd street first, and then move to 3rd and 4th street on January 20. During this time, there may be occasional lane closures on 2nd and 3rd Streets, as well as on side streets, to accommodate the snow removal work. The City encourages motorists to avoid The Dalles downtown area entirely if possible during the snow removal work. If travel is necessary, please seek alternate routes to avoid the downtown work zone and be sure to stay at least 50 feet away from operating equipment.
Fire damaged an apartment at the complex on 2402 West 10th Street in The Dalles on Sunday. According to Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue Division Chief Dan Hammel, firefighters who responded found a fire in the exterior wall of the unit, which was contained to the immediate area within the wall, but the interior of the unit was damaged by water and firefighting operations to access the wall space. The cause of the fire has been determined to be a result of an electrical failure within the wall wiring. As a result of the damage to the electrical wiring, the power to all six units in the building had to be disconnected and resulted in the displacement of those occupants. The American Red Cross was contacted to assist with the needs of those individuals.
The Port of Hood River says it is receiving interest in properties at the former Hanel Mill site the Port has been redeveloping. Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says they are engaged in early discussions with a pair of businesses that are interested in acquiring space at the site. On-site utilities are done, but McElwee notes water pressure for fire suppression is still being addressed. McElwee says the businesses the Port is talking to are in the manufacturing sector.